steve_121, on august 06, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 2380
Purchased from: Andertons
Features: Hand wired and made in California, a solid pine cabinet with a tweed cover. The Twinolux is the top of the EC (Eric Clapton) signature amps by Fender. It has two 12 inch speakers which were specially made for the amp as were the transformers and almost every other component. It has an all tube pre-amp and main amp: two 6L6GE output tubes, four 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 5U4 rectifier tubes, with three power settings so you can use the full 40w or 10w though both speakers, or 10w through one speaker. On top it had two inputs (Hi and Low Gain) and a single volume control. A presence, treble and bass, along with the two tremolo controls - speed and depth.
The amp comes with a foot switch for the tremolo and a rather thin cover. There are no extra features like fx loops or headphone jacks - it is a basic amp based on (I think) the '57 Tweed. So it's designed for a specific purpose - it's not a "do everything" amp by any stretch of the imagination. They are new out in 2013, so not too many reviews yet. In my ideal world there would be a reverb, and a separate master and gain. But I'll come to that later. // 8
Sound: The sound is why I bought this amp. I own a Mesa Boogie, which is stupidly versatile, but what I lacked was that tweed sound. This amp is all about that. While You cannot, without pedals, really get a wide set of styles from the amp what you can get is every type of tweed and blues on the planet. The sound is very sensitive to the settings, so within the genre this amp allows subtle and profound tonal changes. I've played through it for about six hours now and I still have loads to learn. It loves strats and when I put a Les Paul with a P90 through it my jaw dropped - the guitar had never sounded like that before - not even in my dreams. Using combinations of the treble and presence offer a really rich set of sounds and if you use the volume control on guitar and amp you can really start to open up possibilities with overdrive without blowing your head off in a small space.
The best way to describe the sound is creamy and warm, and when you push the volume up to about 7/8 (they go to 12) then it starts to break up a little and when you attack the strings every subtlety of your strokes come through. It's blues heaven, but unforgiving and sensitive to the settings. It really tests you as a player and tests your ear in setting the amp right. So don't even try it if you want to sound perfect from the get go - this amp makes you work for your music. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Big and solid - over 50 pounds in weight. The cabinet is rugged and the tubes well protected. The footswitch is the typical Fender "landmine" so you can tread on it all day - it lacks a positive feel when it switches so again you need to play with confidence, it doesn't help you out. The tweed cover will mark easily, especially if you stick it next to black amps. So if you want it pristine you'll need to use the cover which is so much less robust than the covers I got with my AER or Mesa Boogie. It also runs hot, after an hour and a half the top plate is warm to touch and it pumps out a lot of heat - just like the original '57s. But it is rugged and if you don't care about scuff marks it should last as long as you do. // 9
Overall Impression: I bought this amp for a specific sound and it delivers. I tried every other Fender and a few others, from 600 to 4000. This amp blew them all away for the feel and creamy blues tone. It has huge possibilities and with a deft touch on your guitar tone and volume the amp works with you to give an amazing experience. With an overdrive pedal it takes on a whole new flavour - so you can expand it's repertoire, but you need to think carefully about pedal selection so as not to ruin the tone.
It doesn't have reverb, but actually I don't miss it. The sound is great as it comes, and the way it picks up every single part of every note adds a depth I didn't think was actually there until I tried this amp - that makes it unforgiving, but boy does it make your guitars sound good. The tremolo is great - the Tremolux in the same series I also tried didn't have a depth control, but on this amp the tremolo is beautiful. And the tone from the Twinolux made the Fender DeVille look positively anaemic in comparison. It's expensive and niche. But the quality of the sound is fantastic and I would definitely buy it again it I lost this one.